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HRW Calls On Russia Not To Extradite Uzbeks To Kyrgyzstan

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Russia not to extradite three ethnic Uzbeks to Kyrgyzstan, saying they will be at serious risk of torture there.

HRW issued a statement on June 13 that said the three men are wanted by Bishkek for their alleged involvement in killings during June 2010 ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in southern Kyrgyzstan.

Hundreds were killed and thousands were displaced during the clashes.

HRW says its experts found that the use of torture by police during their investigations into the violence was widespread.

"The evidence that these men would face a serious risk of torture if they are sent back to Kyrgyzstan is overwhelming," the statement quotes Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at HRW, as saying in a reference to findings by the United Nations and civil society groups. "It should be clear to the Russian authorities that under international law, Russia cannot grant their extradition."

The statement says that "the investigation disproportionately targeted ethnic Uzbeks, who are now at heightened risk of torture in custody."

Williamson said Moscow "must adhere to its international obligations to prevent these men from being returned to Kyrgyzstan."
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